A woman dining with four friends at Villa Cemita Sunday night said that she was sexually assaulted by an employee inside the Mexican restaurant's restroom, according to a published report at Gothamist. In addition, another woman in the group believes that she was drugged by one of the shots that the employee served her.
Ingrid Ostby, 31, a comedian, had been next door at the Upright Citizens Brigade on Sunday night. Afterwards, she and her friends went to Villa Cemita, 50 Avenue A between East Third Street and East Fourth Street.
She wrote about the incident on Facebook, a post which has been shared more than 500 times. Several of her friends forwarded a copy of the post to EVG. It reads, in part:
Toward the end of the meal, the "owner"/"manager"/"mixologist" kept coming over to our table, telling us he'd give us money off our next meal there because they're a newer establishment. We decided we'd brunch there next week after he offered 20 then 30 percent off of our next meal. How nice! He kept bringing us shots of tequila. Meg and I joked how cloudy one of the shots looked, that it might be roofied. But we thought, it's fine, we're safe. (A foolish thought for any woman.) He gave one of us a business card, or a gift card; we don't know. We just wanted to talk to each other, not him.
We each went to the bathrooms before we left. We left a generous tip. It was my turn to go to the bathroom. Single stall. I went in and kept thinking about jokes, about what he could want from us, from bringing us shots, three in total, four technically — one of us wasn't drinking so we split her shots. I dry off my hands, start to unlock the door, then the """"owner/manager/mixologist"""" pushes the door in to the very very small single stall bathroom and comes in, puts his hands on me (on my ass, around my waist), while saying, "I'm so glad you came in tonight" and puts his head toward me as if to kiss me. I go, "Are you fucking kidding me?" I push past him (how lucky, I can't imagine if he'd try to fight me — I'm admittedly weak), run to the table, rip the cash tip out of the bill. We decide to give it to the server (a woman) directly.
I leave because I'm shaken up, my friend goes and screams at him, the server yells at him to confess ... Sexual assault to any large or small degree is a very regular occurrence for women, so this is not to bring the attention to me or to gain sympathy. I don't need it. I — we — have worse things going on. What I need is for none of you to step foot in that place again. It is not safe for women.
The man was later identified as Omar Cuatzo, the son of the restaurant's owner.
Ryan Blanch, Cuatzo's attorney, gave Gothamist the following statement:
"Mr. Cuatzo, the bartender, vehemently denies any wrongdoing and looks forward to defending himself in a forum more suitable to the allegations than the social media and review sites chosen by the complainant. He has never before been accused of any similar conduct and looks forward to telling his side of the story at the appropriate time and place."
Ostby and her friend Megan Doherty, who believes that she was drugged, filed an assault complaint at the 9th Precinct yesterday.
Villa Cemita opened in March 2015. The restaurant was not open as usual last evening. An EVG reader said that a small sign is up inside the front door at the Upright Citizens Brigade warning patrons not to visit Villa Cemita.